Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review

Read our full review of the Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR, the new entry-level DSLR from Canon.

| Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) in Digital SLRs
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Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (4)
The Canon EOS 1200D is designed to be the new entry level Digital SLR from Canon replacing the Canon EOS 1100D, and as it's designed for beginners or those new to using a Digital SLR, Canon has released a new app for Android and iOS devices so that they can learn how to use the camera. The app covers the basics including how the mode dial works, how to change settings, as well as how to correctly hold the camera to get the best photos.

Canon EOS 1200D Features

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (2)
The Canon EOS 1200D, known as the Rebel T5 in the US, is available with an RRP of £349.99 body only, £399.99 with an EF-S 18-55mm DC III lens, and £449.99 with an EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens, with built in optical image stabilisation.

The 1200D features an 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, as featured in the Canon EOS 700D and other Canon EOS cameras, upgrading the the 12 megapixel sensor in the 1100D, as well as the 1200D featuring a 3inch screen, which is an upgrade over the 2.7inch screen on the 1100D. The Canon EOS 1200D also features full HD video, updating the 720p video on the 1100D, and bringing the entry level Canon EOS camera in line with Nikon's entry level DSLR offerings, although doesn't catch up with the 4fps continuous shooting, external mic socket offered by the Nikon D3200, or the 11 point AF system, instead offering a relatively slow 3fps, and 9 point AF system. 

There are a number of creative shooting modes, as well as scene modes with simple to operate settings explained in plain english so that you don't necessarily have to understand aperture and shutter speed to change settings or create a blurred background, or create a brighter image for example. You can simply change an option on screen to change the settings and get the desired results.
Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (6)
Key Features

  • 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3inch screen, 460k dot resolution
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • 1080p HD video, 25p, 24p
  • Easy to use Intelligent Auto
  • ISO100 to ISO12800 (extended)
  • 1/4000s fastest shutter speed
  • 9 AF points spread across the frame

The 1200D has been released with an app called the EOS Companion App, and is available in the Google and Apple stores for download. It is split into different areas starting with the basics of photography in the 'Learn' section, followed by the 'Explore' section where you can get to know your camera and settings, then 'Inspire' which is designed to take you further into photography once you've got more familiar with your camera.

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d 3 Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d 2
Learn, Explore, Inspire, About Mode dial, Handling the camera Mode dial explained
Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d 6 Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d 5 Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos Companion App 1200d 7
Holding the camera Point selected Inspire section


Canon EOS 1200D Handling

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (9)
The camera feels good in the hand, with the camera featuring a good rubber hand-grip with textured rubber on the back for your thumb, along with an improved textured plastic body compared to that of the 1100D. The optical viewfinder has a good rubber surround making it comfortable to use if you wear glasses. The screen can be quite difficult to see in bright sunlight, but is clear to see at other times, with good colour and easy to read text and options. The controls on the camera give a good number of external controls, along with a Q button to give quick access to the most commonly used options on the rear screen. 

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (8)
Menus – Canon has a logical well laid out menu system, with the shooting menus colour coded red, playback menus are colour coded blue, setup orange, and my menu is colour coded green. The my menu allows you to add all your favourite settings onto one page, so that you can quickly access the most regularly used settings. The camera also provides a quick explanation of each menu item, and this all adds up to make it a very easy menu system to use.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 500 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, which is good, although as you would expect for a Digital SLR, you do tend to get better battery life from a Digital SLR. 

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 1200D (10)
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.


Shutter Response 0.1secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.4secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.5secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
3fps (16 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 2fps (36 shots)
Continuous Shooting - RAW 3fps (6 shots - then stops)

Focus and shutter response is quick, with the camera also featuring a quick switch on time and shot to shot time, even when using the flash. Live view focusing is much slower, and best avoided unless photographing static subjects, or where the ability to use the camera away from your eye at different angles would be useful. 

Canon EOS 1200D Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Exposure is reliable with the camera producing images with excellent colour, good levels of saturation, and very pleasing skin tones. Portrait photos taken with flash show no red-eye. Images taken in low light produce images with good colour reproduction, and the kit lens is capable of taking close up photos with pleasantly blurred background. 

Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) Lens test images

Lens Performance - Photos have good exposure and dynamic range, with the camera featuring "Auto lighting optimizer" to improve detail in shadows and light areas of the image. The 18-55mm lens produces images with good levels of detail whether shooting wide or telephoto, although images are softer in the corner, with some purple fringing and chromatic aberration visible, more so towards the corners, particularly shooting with high levels of contrast. The lens is also quite resistant to lens flare, even when shooting with the sun in the centre of the frame. Focusing is quick when using the optical viewfinder and reliable, although much slower when using the live view feature. 

Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO12800 is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is low. To view the effect of noise on the images, we would recommend viewing the full size images at 100%.

Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with although with a warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a very similar result, and for more accurate results custom white balance is recommended. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset also giving very good results.

Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a number of "creative auto" modes, each giving a slightly different look and style to the images, as shown above. To take photos with extended dynamic range you will need to use the Auto-Exposure bracketing feature and merge the photos yourself using something like Photoshop or an alternative program. Another option would be to use the raw files.

Video - Video quality is good recording at 1080p at 30/25 or 24fps, although due to the 18-55mm kit lens not featuring image stabilisation handheld videos are likely to show camera shake. For better results, we would recommend choosing the IS kit lens version or using a tripod. For more serious video work, a camera with an external mic socket is recommended.

Value For Money

The Canon EOS 1200D is available for £339 with 18-55mm kit lens, or £379 with 18-55mm IS lens, which makes it very good value for money, as one of the cheapest Canon DSLR cameras with an 18 megapixel sensor. This prices it in the same region as the 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 and 20 megapixel Sony Alpha A58. Alternatives to consider include the following cameras:

Canon EOS 600D (discontinued), 18mp, 3.7fps, £429 with 18-55mm with IS
Canon EOS 100D, 18mp, 4fps, £399 with 18-55mm (without IS)
Canon EOS 1100D, 12mp, 3.2fps, £249 with 18-55mm lens (without IS)
Nikon D3100, 14mp, 3fps, £299 with VR lens
Nikon D3200, 24mp, 4fps, £339 with VR II lens
Nikon D3300, 24mp, 5fps, £409 with VR II lens
Pentax K-50, 16mp, 6fps, £399 with WR (Weather-resistant) lens and body
Sony Alpha A58 (EVF), 20mp, 5fps with continuous AF, £319 with lens

You could also look at the following mirrorless cameras if you wanted a smaller system with a built in electronic viewfinder:

Panasonic Lumix G6, 16mp, 7fps, £469 with lens
Panasonic Lumix G5, 16mp, 6fps, £289 with lens

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon EOS 1200D Verdict

The Canon EOS 1200D offers a decent upgrade compared to the Canon EOS 1100D, featuring an 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, improved rubber grip, and a more robust feeling camera body, with an improved finish compared to the rather budget and plastic feel of the 1100D. FullHD video has also been added, and the camera delivers bright colourful images. However, for those coming from a compact camera, they will find live view frustratingly slow at focusing. Specifications are improved compared to the 1100D, however don't quite compete or match the more impressive specifications of the entry level offerings from Nikon, Sony, or Pentax that have noticeably updated what you can expect from an entry-level Digital SLR.

The Canon EOS 1200D is a welcome update, but also a long overdue update, and rather than seriously compete with the competition on specifications or features, the 1200D simply offers a fairly standard set of options. However, for those that want an entry level Canon EOS Digital SLR, the 1200D delivers great image quality and has a comfortable body with good ergonomics. It's also easy to use, and the EOS companion app will be useful for beginners, and those that want to learn more from their camera. The entry level price of £339 with 18-55mm kit lens makes it very competitively priced although the lack of image stabilisation in the kit lens, feels a little mean in comparison to the competition. For the beginner, or anyone who wants an optical viewfinder, along with the ability to change lenses, of which there are many excellent Canon EF-S lenses available, then the Canon EOS 1200D makes a great entry-level choice.

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Review:
  The Canon EOS 1200D may not offer the highest specification available in an entry level DSLR, however it certainly delivers excellent images.

Canon EOS 1200D Pros

Good value for money
Excellent colour reproduction
EOS Companion App suitable for beginners, and more
Easy to use
Good noise performance
Good battery life
Quick focus (excluding live view)

Canon EOS 1200D Cons

Entry level kit lens lacks image stabilisation
Doesn't feature an Auto-HDR mode
Slow live view focus
Only 3fps continuous shooting


Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) Specifications

Effective Magnification1.6x
Image Sensor
Pixels18Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5184
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)22.3mm
Sensor Size (height)14.9mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting3fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30, 25, 24fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E10
Battery Life (CIPA rating)500shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsEOS 1200D Body, Eyecup Ef, Camera Cover R-F-3, Wide Strap EW-300D, Battery Charger LC-E10E, Power Cord, Battery Pack LP-E10, Battery Cover, Interface Cable IFC-130U, User Manual Kit

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5)

Knockhill motorbikeVeined White nectaringRosslyn ChapelDiscovery at DundeeCaen Hill FlightNewcastleNewcastleSo little to feel happyOpen top motoringHelping handLady Hesketh is steamingPrinces StreetThe Deli GlobalSeed lovers

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sasan Avatar
sasan 10 36 England
3 Mar 2014 8:31AM
Some good & some not! waiting till it comes
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2014 3:51PM
Great review !......impressive IQ with nice ergonomics, & light weight....& darn good price !

Got to be one of the best "entry level" APS-C cameras available ??.Smile
petebfrance Avatar
25 Jun 2014 4:05PM
Note - the Pentax competitor at this level is the K-500, not the K-50 which is more expensive.
Also, my understanding is that the only 'anti-dust' measure this camera has is to map where the dust is on the sensor but perhaps you can confirm/deny this?
joshwa Avatar
joshwa Plus
13 927 1 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2014 5:09PM
Hi Pete,

You are right, the K500 is £329, without weather sealing, or the K50 at £399 with weather sealing. Both have built in image stabilisation, and if you want the Canon 1200D with IS, you are looking at £379, so it seemed to make sense to include the K50 to show what you would get if you spent a little more.

That's correct about anti-dust, there is an option to map the dust in camera.

petebfrance Avatar
25 Jun 2014 7:38PM
Hi Josh

thanks for response. The K50 really has gone down in price recently - I wonder if it just isn't selling or if there is something else going on.

rajan3887 Avatar
1 Feb 2015 11:54AM
best cheap dslr camera and is giving 8gb sd card and dslr camera bag free
MaeMinh321 Avatar
19 Feb 2016 1:48PM
I love this device Tongue

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